Many of us seek a second opinion when choosing a restaurant. So why don’t we seek one before undergoing a complex orthopaedic surgery?

There are times when even seasoned orthopaedic surgeons want their patients to receive a second opinion from an expert team at an academic health system like Keck Medicine of USC. There may be unusual risks associated with a surgery or the procedure may be complex or rarely performed. In these cases, having a more specialized surgeon evaluate the problem can be of great benefit to the patient.

“Patients are often sent to us because they know our surgeons are very specialized and can manage complex problems. We have joint replacement, foot and ankle, knee and hip, sports medicine, hand, spine, trauma and tumor specialists,” notes Jay Lieberman, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “There are times when a patient or their doctor wants an evaluation by a specialist because they may know more about the latest treatments in that area.”

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Some patients may also have other health problems that can raise the risk of a straightforward orthopaedic surgery procedure. The orthopaedic surgeons at Keck Medicine regularly collaborate with doctors from other specialties to create treatment plans for a patient’s particular needs.

“A multidisciplinary approach is essential if a patient has multiple medical problems in addition to their musculoskeletal problem,” Dr. Lieberman, who is also director of Keck Medicine’s USC Orthopaedic Surgery, explains.

Second opinions do not always come before surgery. Many patients seek second opinions after they have had a procedure and did not attain the desired outcome. Keck Medicine’s surgeons are adept at revising procedures that did not achieve optimal outcomes, such as fractures that did not heal or unsuccessful spine fusions.

Keck Medicine’s physicians can also skillfully perform simple orthopaedic procedures and have pioneered techniques to reduce discomfort and shorten hospital stays, including minimally invasive and nonsurgical procedures, for the most common orthopaedic problems.

Dr. Lieberman goes on to say, “Everything we do is for one reason: We want to enhance the care of our patients. We have special expertise and we believe that is the best way to optimize results, whether it be a straightforward or complex problem.”

Q: Do you know when to seek a second opinion?

A: When you’ve received a diagnosis of a complex orthopaedic condition, it’s valuable to seek a second opinion.

Keck Medicine of USC’s orthopaedic surgeons are experienced in treating complex problems such as multiligament knee injuries, revision anterior cruciate ligament and rotator cuff repairs, complex spinal deformities, brachial plexus injuries, fracture nonunion and revision joint replacements. They are also skilled in performing cutting-edge procedures such as vascularized fibula grafts, free muscles flaps, osteotomies for spinal deformity, bone transport procedures, stem cell treatments for osteonecrosis of the hip and knee, and limb salvage procedures for tumors.

By Hope Hamashige